du Plessis to replace Rake as BT chairman

James Pearce
Published on:

Rake is retiring from the UK telco after more than a decade as chairman

BT has named Jan du Plessis as its new chairman, replacing Mike Rake who is retiring after more than a decade in the role.

Du Plessis joins from metal and mining multination Rio Tinto, where he has served as chairman since 2009. He has held a number of high level roles in major corporations, include SABMiller, where he was chairman until October 2016, and as a director of retailer Marks & Spencer.

He has also previously sold as finance director of Richemont, and as chairman of British American Tobacco.

du Plessis said: “I am honoured to have been asked to become BT’s Chairman. BT is a great British company with excellent people and Mike has done an outstanding job as Chairman over the last 10 years. This is an important time for the company and I look forward to working with Gavin (Patterson, BT CEO) and his team to help BT continue to support Britain’s digital future.”

Rake announced plans to retire in May of last year, igniting a search for his replacement which was spearheaded by BT’s senior independent director Nick Rose. 

Rake earned £706,000 in his four-day-a-week role this last year, according to the Financial Times, and leaves the company as it comes under increasing pressure over its infrastructure division Openreach, which is now operating with its own board following an Ofcom ruling.

"I am delighted Jan has been chosen to succeed me as Chairman,” Rake said. “Over the past 10 years, BT has made huge progress and we have transformed and expanded the business. Whilst clearly there are continuing challenges, the performance of the company remains on track. This gives me great confidence in its future and I wish Jan every success as he leads BT at this important time.”